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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  October 13, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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school principal fired. the punishment handed down to >> pelley: tonight, we've got the whole world in our hands-- again. john blackstone on the blackberry blackout and what it says about how dependent we've become. new york's mayor delivers a surprising message to those protesters occupying wall street. seth doane is there. armen keteyian investigates shortages of life-saving drugs and discovers just who's hoarding them to jack up the price. >> they're out to make a profit. plain and simple. >> pelley: and they're not the walls of jericho, but major work is needed to keep the stones of the national cathedral from tumbling down. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley, reporting tonight from washington. >> pelley: good evening.
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on any given day here at the capital you will find members of congress walking the halls with their heads bowed-- not in prayer but reading their blackberries. in the 21st century, that is the way business is done here and in much of the rest of the world. that business was disrupted when blackberry service suddenly went down on monday. one country, one continent after another. e-mails and text messages couldn't get through. today the message 70 million blackberry subscribers were waiting for from the c.e.o. of the company: service has been fully restored. but as john blackstone tells us, the crash of 2011 might be a wakeup call. >> reporter: the hardware failure and the two-day backlog in e-mails that disabled blackberry service from the middle east to north america was a warning to a world that's become ever more dependent on always being connected. this man works on wall street. >> you realize how much you do
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rely on these mechanisms and just kind of pulling my hair out. >> reporter: 35% of american adults use smart phones like the blackberry or iphone. two-thirds even say they've slept with them. but while the old-fashioned land line phone system was built to virtually always work, hand-held devices have never been that dependable says tech analyst charles govin. >> we all live with sporadic outages. i won't say on a daily basis, but it's not infrequent. >> reporter: that's a reason govin has cell phones from three different carriers to make sure he's never entirely disconnected. >> today we still use the phrase "to go online" but the truth is we don't go online, we are online. we live our lives online. the net has become this pervasive invisible force in everything that we do. >> reporter: now, it seems we can't live without a device we didn't have just a decade ago. smart phones are used to pay bills, buy coffee and, most importantly, it's the way american business gets done.
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in the practice of law, a blackberry has become essential for attorney irwin feinberg. >> so, if you're e-mail blind, you're unable to be in the kind of direct communication that people expect you to be in. >> reporter: this has been a public relations disaster for the maker of the blackberry, research in motion, which is in a cutthroat battle with apple's iphone and google's android system for subscribers. many blackberry users are furious with the company for the lack of details provided during the outage which is the fourth major disruption for blackberry since 2007. >> pelley: john, thanks very much. president obama is once again challenging republicans in congress to pass a jobs bill, two days after they voted to kill his package of stimulus spending and tax increases. speaking at the white house during a state visit by south korea's president, mr. obama said he is ready to talk. >> any time and any place that
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they are serious about working on putting people back to work, we'll be prepared to work with them. but we're not going to create a lot of theater that then results in them engaging in the usual political talking points but don't result in action. people want action. >> pelley: and some of those people have taken action by taking to the streets in the so- called "occupy" protests that have that have now spread to 103 cities in 36 states and to canada and england. police in portland, oregon, moved in before dawn today to reopen a street that protestors blocked for more than a week. eight people were arrested. in new york city, where it all started, protestors have been warned that they will have to leave the park that they've been occupying so that it can be cleaned. seth doane is there. >> reporter: scott, good evening. this is the notice folks in this park received earlier today saying they would be allowed to return to this park after friday's cleanup but not with
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the tarps and the camping equipment that they've used to live here over the last four weeks. >> i believe they're using sanitation to destroy the entire movement. >> reporter: what do you think this is about? what do you mean? >> putting an end to occupy wall street. >> reporter: that movement has occupied this city block close to wall street for 27 days, where thousands have been protesting bank bailouts, corporate greed, and income inequality. as the demonstrations in zucotti park have grown, so has the encampment, now complete with a kitchen, medical unit and sleeping quarters for the 400 or so who call this home. last night, mayor michael bloomberg visited for the first time after telling protesters they could stay as long as they like. >> we're going to try to balance people that own the property-- brookfield, they have some rights, too-- and we're going to find a balance. people have a right in new york city to say what they want to say. >> reporter: but now the mayor says that after tomorrow's cleanup, the city will begin
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enforcing park regulations that prohibit lying down on benches or even storing personal property on the ground. protesters say they'll try to clean up before the city does. 47-year-old brooklyn resident robert segal has been here since the beginning, and says they may try to force them out but the movement will not end. how important is this park as a center, as a home? >> this park is a symbol, but this park is not the movement. zucotti park can come and zucotti park can go. we can move on and we can continue this from elsewhere if necessary. but, that said, we are not leaving. >> reporter: of course, some local businesses and residents say they're pleased that this park is going to be cleaned up, while some protesters tell us they will not leave. though the n.y.p.d. tells cbs news they will begin enforcing these regulations tomorrow morning. >> pelley: seth, thank you. there has been a rare face-to- face meeting between u.s. and iranian officials over the alleged iranian plot to
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assassinate the saudi ambassador here on american soil. the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice, met with her iranian counterpart last night, but there is no word as to what was said. today, president obama spoke about the case, and we have more on that from chief white house correspondent norah o'donnell. norah? >> reporter: scott, today, for the first time, president obama said iran will pay a price through sanctions and international pressure for what he called their dangerous and reckless behavior. >> we don't take any options off the table in terms of how we operate with iran. >> reporter: mr. obama did not offer specifics on what new punitive measures the administration might take. >> what you can expect is that we will continue to apply the sorts of pressure will have a direct impact on the iranian government until it makes a better choice in terms of how it's going to interact with the rest of the international community. >> reporter: the president would
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not say if he believes iran's supreme leader, the ayatollah khamenei, or president ahmadinejad, knew about the plot but said the iranian leadership should take responsibility. even if, at the highest levels, there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the iranian government engaging in this kind of activity. >> reporter: and now, scott, the treasury department is weighing additional sanctions against iran's central bank. the goal is to further squeeze iran financially. >> pelley: norah, thank you. president obama ate dinner with south korea's president last night just as congress was passing free trade agreements with south korea, colombia and panama. a federal commission says the agreements could boost the u.s. economy by as much as $14.4 billion and create thousands of jobs. here's congressional correspondent nancy cordes.
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>> reporter: jason speer is still smarting over the $100,000 manufacturing contract he lost in south korea this spring. >> it probably would have been probably two or three people we would have hired just for this. >> reporter: speer's family- owned business in schaumburg, illinois, makes metal floats, a critical component in many machines. he lost that south korean bid because he had to tack on the cost of an 8% tariff. a german company didn't. >> all around the world they're making these free trade agreements, and the u.s. is falling behind and that gives us a price disadvantage. >> reporter: the u.s. could have leveled the playing field years ago, but three trade bills with south korea, panama and colombia, sat boxed up until last night when the house and senate voted all of them into law. >> the bill is passed. >> reporter: the new trade agreement with south korea cuts export duties for both countries. korean tariffs on u.s. beef, for example, will go from 40% to
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zero. korean regulations that keep u.s. cars out of their market will also be eliminated. the trade agreement with colombia will boost u.s. grain exports and drop colombian tariffs on heavy machinery that can add about $300,000 to the price of u.s. mining equipment there. the bills faced stiff opposition from labor groups and some democrats, who argue free trade agreements make foreign goods cheaper in the u.s., cutting demand for u.s.-made goods. >> we were told these would create jobs. they haven't. >> reporter: a.f.l.-c.i.o. president richard trumka took his case to the top. have you told the president that you think these bills are bad for the country? >> on numerous occasions. >> reporter: and what does he say? >> well, we have a disagreement about that. >> reporter: proponents say these bills will create tens of thousands of new jobs, just not right away, scott, because the agreements can take a couple of years to implement. >> pelley: nancy, it seems the most remarkable thing about this
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is that democrats and republicans agreed on something and passed a bill. what should we make of that? >> reporter: that's right, republicans like these agreements because they open up new markets to u.s. goods. many democrats do, too, as long as they include some funding for workers who lose their jobs as a result of free trade and need to be retrained. so, yes, bipartisanship did win out here but only, scott, after several years of trying to reach a compromise. >> pelley: thank you very much, nancy. businesses make big profits buy hoarding drugs in short supply. a lifeline for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. and fallen angels. repairing the earthquake-damaged national cathedral. when the "cbs evening news" continues from washington. washington. kellogg's® frosted mini-wheats cereal
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won't without the crucial drug fluorouracil. her hospital had simply run out. >> i don't have time to take a break and let them keep going and fight them back later. i have to get them now. >> reporter: the record drug shortage has opened the door for so-called gray market companies that exploit the short supply. they buy up drugs for everything from cancer to infections, stockpiling them, then sell them to hospitals at massive mark- ups. according to this recent report, on average, 650%. >> i think they are completely unscrupulous. >> reporter: dr. james speyer heads the n.y.u. cancer center. gray market buyers tried to sell fluorouracil at 20 times the normal price were not turned away. >> they're not reliable. we don't know who they are all the time. we don't the same guarantees about their source and the product. >> reporter: congressman elijah cumings has launched an investigation into drug shortage profiteering.
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>> when you take a drug that is a life-saving type drug and deprive a child or anybody else of that drug by hoarding it and jacking up the price as much as 5,000 times, as far as i'm concerned, that is criminal. >> reporter: here in miami, a company called allied medical supply sells the leukemia drug citaribin. they've taken a drug that typically sells for $12 a vial and offers it for nearly a thousand dollars. allied, with $5 million a year in revenue, makes up to 600% profit on some drugs it sells, according to this person with inside knowledge of the company whose identity cbs news agreed to conceal. >> they're out to make a profit, plain and simple. not for the interests of the public, the consumer, the patient, the hospital. strictly to make a profit at any cost. >> reporter: you say allied would target drugs in short supply. how would they know what was in
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short supply? >> they would actually go to the f.d.a. shortage site and look up the medications. you have a list of hospitals, you would call the hospital, see what they need and push that certain medication. >> reporter: allied declined to be interviewed, but in a statement said: >> reporter: meanwhile, sara danielson continues her fight and awaits surgery. today her hospital has just a three-week supply of fluorouracil in stock. >> you don't know where the supply is coming from next. it's terrifying. >> reporter: the five companies congressman cumings requested information from are now cooperating and cbs news has learned, scott, the f.b.i. is looking into the gray market as well. >> pelley: armen, thank you very much. the c.e.o. of the bankrupt solar
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power company solyndra has resigned. brian harrison stepped down on friday. last month, harrison declined to answer questions from a congressional committee investigating what happened to a $535 million loan guaranteed by u.s. taxpayers. we'll be back in a moment from a stormy washington where, in the midst of foreclosure, one woman is helping americans keep their homes. that story is next. next. ♪ [ dennis ] allstate wants everyone to be protected on the road, whether you're an allstate customer or not. ♪ all you have to do is call. [ female announcer ] call allstate now and you'll get a free lifetime membership in good hands roadside assistance. [ dennis ] shop less. get more. make one call to an allstate agent.
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>> pelley: banks are getting more aggressive with people who don't keep up with their mortgage payment and according to a report out today, the number of homeowners getting their first default warning shot up 14% in the third quarter this year. so we asked jim axelrod what people in danger of losing their homes can do. >> there are about five million people who need help. >> reporter: there may be no one who knows more about what americans fighting through foreclosure are going through than colleen hernandez. >> it's ironic that people who are in this large group feel so alone. >> reporter: the housing crisis isn't hard to understand... >> but it's hard to fix. and it's fixed one by one. >> we're going to look at the budget right now. >> reporter: hernandez runs the hope hotline, a not-for-profit service that shepherds distressed homeowners. counselors will even call the banks on behalf of borrowers to ask about loan modifications, or recommend to homeowners they
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sell. >> so keeping the home at the end of the day is your ultimate goal? >> reporter: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hernandez commands an army of 600 counselors who field the calls of a nation in need. in five years, you've gone from 40 calls a day... you had how many yesterday? >> 4,000. that's a slow day. >> reporter: 40 to 4,000? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: and 4,000 is a slow day? >> 4,000 is a slow day. >> reporter: it's free to call, lenders largely foot the bill, hernandez says, because they avoid millions in losses by preventing more foreclosures. but there's much more than money at stake. >> there's the loan facts and the budget facts, but underneath that there's this person who feels hopeless, afraid. our counselors are trained in what's called active listening. you listen for the facts and you listen for the feeling. >> how did you hear of us? >> reporter: maureen rodriguez was a realtor for 12 years before becoming a counselor.
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about a third of the people she speaks to won't be able to keep their hopes. >> oh, i'm so sorry. every single client we talk to is a different story. there's no story that's the same. >> reporter: 800 miles away in chicago, 55-year-old ronald sweatt told rodriguez one of those stories. he worked for the railroad for nearly 30 years until he got injured and faced foreclosure. >> i never dreamed that i would be in that position. >> reporter: rodriguez eventually connected sweatt to a state agency that agreed to help him pay his mortgage. >> i just thank god everyday. and maureen. >> makes me feel good. it's a good ending. >> reporter: one good ending out of the 1.5 million stories homeowners have told hope hotline counselors since the crisis began. if you could wave your magic
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wand and talk to every single person who needed your services, how many people would you be talking to? >> about five million. >> reporter: so how come you can't get to the other 3.5 million? >> they don't know we're here. they don't know their options and they don't know trustworthy help is available. >> reporter: with no end to the mortgage mess in sight, hernandez says the hope hotline is planning on being available for at least the next five years. jim axelrod, cbs news, freehold, new jersey. >> pelley: as we were looking through today's foreclosure numbers, this jumped out at us: nationwide, it now takes close to a year for the foreclosure process to play out. the foreclosure processing average nationwide is 336 days, but look at this. in new york it's 986 days, the longest of any state. nearly three years. a house of god gets help from above when we come back. back. [ female announcer ] must be the os-cal.
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today, with the cathedral surrounded by thick fog, two tons of hand-carved stone work was carefully removed from one of the pinnacles. a worker on scaffolding 330 feet high gave directions to a crane operator down below. >> nice and easy, jim, keep squeezing her up. >> reporter: the earthquake had pushed that section of stone work about eight and a half inches off its base and the tops of the pinnacles crashed down to the cathedral roof. the building will eventually be inspected by the same engineers who rappelled down the washington monument. it took 83 years to build the national cathedral. funerals were held there for four american presidents. the estimated cost of repairing it will be at least $15 million. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. with thanks to the jones day law firm for this window on washington, i'm scott pelley. and for all of us at cbs news all around the world. good night.
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captioning sponsored by cbs of bay area jails. the special visits they're getting, before your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. new at 6:00, a unique way to keep ex-cons out of bay area jails. the special visits they are getting before they are released. a one-time-only offer. how to get 50% off on your traffic ticket. >> inside the occupation, the elaborate support network bay area protestors have created from the library to the health clinic. good evening. there is good news for drivers with a secret. the state of california is announcing a kind of traffic ticketamnesty program. linda yee is live with why the state is suddenly so interested in helping delinquent drivers. linda. repo


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